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Lionheart News Interview
Turner 'Bulldog' Hopkinson :: 12:00 AM @ February 20th, 2003 :: In-House: Interview
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Can you introduce yourself and what you do at Black Isle?
My name is Jeff McAteer and I'm the Art Director here at Reflexive Entertainment.
Many game developers are moving away from putting the initial concept stages of a game on paper. Did this play a factor in the development of Lionheart? Did it affect you personally in any way? And last but not least, how will you react when/if you run across this change in the future?
The making of Lionheart did involve concept art to varying degrees so, no it didn't. I think concept art is always an important factor in the success of a game, as a result I would feel a game would suffer without it.
What other games have proved to be influential in the development of Lionheart's art?
None. Lionheart is a gaming vision that, artistically, we just made what we thought was going to look good. We didn't base the art on expectations of "hey, this other game did that, let's do that too."
How long does it take you to on average to finish a character concept from start to finish?
That depends on the whether or not the creative juices are flowing but I guess I would say 3 or 4 hours. I usually make my concepts a little more of a finished product than needed for internal use because they always seem to end up where you least expect them.
How many artists are currently working on Lionheart?
Can you explain the process art goes through from the beginning to the final rendering step?
Concept (if there is one, which there is usually at least a basic one) then we model whatever it is, texture map it, then it is rendered into our game. Once it is in our game it is set up with a collision polygon and Y-sorted. From there it is ready for the designers.
Programmers vs. Artists � who would win in an intense round of golf?
Your guess is as good as mine. The only guy that plays golf here is our CFO, so I would imagine he would kick everyone else's butt.
When you've got a deadline to meet what keeps you focused and on task?
The fear of disappointing all the guys here, I wouldn't want to let them down. All the "keep your job" stuff seems like it might be important too.
From start to finish how many hours are put into art during the development process?
In this game, we have had about 7-8 artists working at any one time. Since we have been in development for about 14 months now, it adds up to a lot. Maybe the programmers could put a decimal value to it, but I would estimate at least 14000-15000 man hours so far.
Without stellar graphics it is becoming harder and harder for a game to compete in the current marketplace. How do you feel about this and how do you deal with the stress of knowing that what you do will play a vital role in how well the game sells?
I love it! I love the competitive aspect as well as the responsibility! The great thing is, the art in Lionheart is one of the many strong points of the game. Many of the screenshots on the internet don't do it justice. They keep washing the colors or textures out when the image gets brightened or compressed.
Anything else you'd like to tell the people reading this?
Buy our game!

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